Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who's A Better Shopper: The Definitive Answer


Comment:

I received some feedback that I was treating one half of the political spectrum unfairly in my last post, although it wasn't clear which side was at a disadvantage. I myself thought I was favoring the Conservatives since whatever praise I offered Progressives was intended to be back-handed. Therefore, I have decided to republish the post with annotations that should eliminate any ambiguity concerning which side fares better in my ruminations.

Original Post with Annotations:

How do you go about buying something? Are you spontaneous or deliberate? Do you do your homework first or just grab something that appeals to you? I have developed a theory by which I believe I can predict what sort of shopper you are simply by asking for your political views.

[OK, so far I haven't taken sides so the score is Conservatives: 0; Progressives: 0.]

Progressives have an inherent distrust of business and approach shopping with the assumption that the chances of being scammed are immeasurably high. The Conservative, in contrast and as one might expect, believes that the practitioners of free-enterprise are, on the whole, an honest bunch as much concerned with the welfare of the customer as their bottom-line. Thus, In matters of retail, the Progressive is a profound pessimist while the Conservative is a wide-eyed optimist.

[In this very optimistic nation of ours, it is much better to be called an optimist than a pessimist. So the score is now Conservatives: 1; Progressives: 0.]

Conservatives still have a quaint tendency towards brand loyalty. In this they are a throwback to an earlier, more innocent age. In the ancient times of my youth, it was common amongst Democrats and Republicans alike to hear self-applied descriptions such as

"I'm a (Ford / Chesterfield / Coca-Cola) person".

Today, however, Progressive cynicism concerning the motives of Big Business prohibits any identification with a brand; a position with which, for mental health reasons I agree. (Can you imagine the trauma an Oldsmobile or a Kodak person has been feeling lately?) Only a Conservative would feel insulted if, as I did recently, AT&T was compared unfavorably to Verizon Wireless. I had no idea, until that point, that anyone could possibly consider themselves an "AT&T person"! I mean, AT&T isn't even really AT&T. It is actually SBC Communications that took the name of one of it's acquisitions: AT&T Wireless! (Does that mean an "AT&T Guy" is really an "SBC Guy"?)

[Whether brand loyalty is considered a positive or a negative trait is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. Although I do concede that I consider it a negative, who the hell cares (other than me) what I think? Score is unchanged.]

I, on the other hand, am a Progressive and, consequently, would happily purchase an "Adolf Hitler" TV if it were highly rated by Consumer Reports and was cheaper than the competition. (OK, I'd probably pay extra to have the logo removed before shipment but that would be the extent of my shame.)

[Slavish devotion to anything in print is definitely a negative these days. Score: Conservatives: 2; Progressives: 0.]

Of course, that is not to say that there aren't Progressive brands: Subaru, Google and Apple are some examples that immediately come to mind. However, as a Progressive I can definitively say that the only reason Progressives drive Foresters and talk on iPhones is because they are simply the best and NOT because they make anyone feel more Progressive when buying one. That is just another cabal of the Right Wing Media Conspiracy.

[Here I am accusing Progressives of not facing up to their own brand loyalties but Conservatives might find this trait appealing so it really can't be considered a strike against Progressives. I am postulating a Conservative media conspiracy but since I don't believe in this concept any more than I believe in a "liberal media bias" this accusation simply doesn't count. Score is unchanged.]

It should come as no surprise then that I, as any good Progressive would do, consulted CR in order to make my choice of a replacement TV. Luckily, that wonderful organization did not recommend an "Adolf Hitler" model. Instead they recommended model LS78XC223MJL387249910AA.02 manufactured by an Asian firm. (And, no, there is absolutely no basis to the Conservative libel that CR always pans American-made products. In fact, they love Vermont maple syrup!!)

[The sarcasm in this paragraph is about as subtle as an elephant with diarrhea. Conservatives: 3. Progressives: 0.]

Conclusion

As can be seen, my prior post was a Conservative rout as I suspected. I stand self-vindicated!!

TBC